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Old 04-27-2009, 12:55 PM
Charles E Snyder, II Charles E Snyder, II is offline
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Default an electrical question on a 1973 non pro car...

Yeh, I know that this is supposed to be a pro car website, but some of us do own non pro cars. I know that someone here can probably give me an answer so here it is...

I am trying to get my 1973 Ford LTD Country Squire started and out of the garage. I have started it off and on all winter... maybe once a month or more. Now, it won't turn over.

When I turn the key, I just get a fast clicking sound and nothing more other than dim interior lights.

I have already made sure that the battery is charged. It is showing about 12.5-13 volts right now. I took both cables off and cleaned the terminals and connectors. I have taken the wire off of the starter and cleaned the connection. I have taken all of the connections off of the relay (?) on the inner fender and cleaned all of the connectors and the nut.

Where should I go from here? Do I start replacing things, or is there something else that I can check? The starter was put on new about 6 or 7 years ago when I had the motor rebuilt.

For some reason, I am brain dead and don't know where to go from here. I should know this without asking.
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:20 PM
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John ED Renstrom John ED Renstrom is offline
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ford troubles. if your handy take a pair of pliers. find the starter solenoid and jump the terminals with the pliers. if it cranks change the solenoid. key on, in park, brake set. you can start the car this way. to keep this pro car related the farmers in the field and fireman's rig gets hot fix on the GM starter was to put a ford solenoid in line. then the gm starter would turn over when it gets hot due to long idle times. the ford is a lot easier to jump the starter then a GM that relay is the solenoid. that were the clicking sound should be coming from. if not it's the starter.
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:26 PM
Paul Steinberg Paul Steinberg is offline
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You should start by trying to jump start the car with another vehicle. If this works, then the problem is the battery or the battery cables. Many times, the batter cables will develop corrosion under the insulation, and that corrosion will cause a high resistance, resulting in lowering the voltage to the car. Since you mention that the lights are dim, this is what I believe to be the problem. One trick that I use to confirm a defective cable is to bypass the cable with a jumper cable from the battery to the solenoid. Being a Ford, this is even easier, since the solenoid is located on the inside fender pan. It is obvious that it isn't getting full current from the battery, so just methodically keep checking to see where the current loss is located. The final thing to do is to bypass the starter solenoid with a jumper cable and see if it cranks. If it does, then check these connections, and if they are both clean and tight, then it might be a defective solenoid. Usually, you can gently wrap the solenoid to help it make contact, and the car will start. This is only a temporary fix, and the solenoid should be replaced, or at least a good replacement carried in the car till you have time to replace it.
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Old 04-27-2009, 02:00 PM
Charles E Snyder, II Charles E Snyder, II is offline
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Thanks for the replys guys. I have been tinkering with it all morning and like was mentioned, I just keep moving on down the line and checking one thing then another.

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Originally Posted by Paul Steinberg View Post
You should start by trying to jump start the car with another vehicle ...
I have not tried this yet, but my charger has a "start" position and when I hook it up in that position, it puts 19+ volts to the battery. I figured that this is more then a running vehicle would produce, so I did not try jumping it.

I just came back up from the garage and I tried to start it with the charger's 19 volts. It did not click this time. I had nothing at all! When I turned the key, the interior lights dimed, the fan and radio shut off and there was no noise at all from the starter or solenoid.
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Old 04-27-2009, 02:32 PM
Paul Steinberg Paul Steinberg is offline
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If there is a dead cell in the battery, it will cause the symptoms that you describe. I suggest that you swap the battery with the one in your car, or using jumper cables, try starting the car with the problem cars battery cables removed the questionable battery. Actually, you only have to remove the positive cable to do this test. If it turns out to be the battery, it will start from the jumper vehicle. You will need a good set of jumper cables to do this. If the jumper cables are of poor quality, they will not deliver the full current of the jumper vehicles battery.
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Old 04-27-2009, 03:24 PM
Charles E Snyder, II Charles E Snyder, II is offline
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This is me right now ... ... Thanks Paul.

I jumped the wagon with my daily driver. In the process, I did like you suggested and totally unhooked the wagon's battery. I went straight from the battery in my Grand Am to the positive cable in the wagon. Slow to turn over at the beginning (I'm sure that even though the Grand Am was running, it was a strain on it), but after only a short amout of time, it fired right up. Now, to check my receipts and see how long ago I purchased that battery.

Again, thanks for the advice guys. Something so simple, but I was having a heck of a time with figuring it out.
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Old 04-27-2009, 05:02 PM
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with the sealed batteries you can't do the cell to cell test. then if you ever saw how small the wire is between the cells you would wounder how it even works. but now that you have everything else cleaned up drop the new battery in it and your good to go. the battery would carry enough current to charge and run the meter but not the load . been there done all of that to.
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